A shocking error by debutant Cristian Zapata saw Villarreal stunned 1-0 by unheralded Danish side Odense in the away leg of their UEFA Champions League play-off tie on Wednesday.
The Colombia centre-back, who signed from Udinese earlier this summer, under-hit an attempted back-pass to goalkeeper Diego Lopez in the 84th minute, allowing Hans Henrik Andreasen to lash home the winning goal. Juan Carlos Garrido's side, fourth in La Liga last season and UEFA Europa League semi-finalists, must now win the second leg at El Madrigal next Tuesday or face elimination from Europe's premier competition.
Whereas Villarreal are yet to begin their domestic season, Odense are already five matches into their Danish SuperLiga campaign. Their greater freshness was apparent in the first 20 minutes, when Andreasen failed to capitalise on several openings.
The visitors gradually grew into the game, however, and Stefan Wessels found his goal peppered with shots in the second half of the first period. Mateo Mussachio had an effort cleared off the line, Giuseppe Rossi tested Wessels with a vicious near-post shot and Cani saw a rising drive from 25 yards miss the right-hand angle of post and bar by centimetres.
Rossi rippled the side netting from Nilmar's pass 10 minutes into the second half but the Spaniards were then indebted to Lopez for spectacularly tipping over a sumptuous dipping volley from Kalilou Traore.
Wessels twice repelled Nilmar and an underwhelming draw looked on the cards for the visitors until Zapata's late blunder made things even worse. His loose pass was seized upon by Andreasen, who slipped past Zapata's attempt to make amends before bending a left-foot shot past Lopez and nudging Odense towards a first ever group phase appearance.